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Gender is a gift enriching our lives and expands our possibilities when women and men work together in settings that recognize and celebrate differences.

The Power of Connections

I was always taught to be careful how you treat others as you never know if you are entertaining an angel. Looking back over my life, it is amazing to think about the opportunities presented through the connections I’ve made.
I had the opportunity to be Magic Johnson’s bodyguard/escort a few years back at a Mastermind in Las Vegas; I’m sure you can picture this five feet, two-inch blonde trying to walk him through the casino to behind the stage unnoticed. It was too funny, but what a great time, and one I will never forget. I recently read this story about Magic when he was younger:
One time after practice, a young boy and his father approached Kareem, asking if he would pose with them for a photo. Kareem walked past without an acknowledgment. Magic, embarrassed by Kareem’s action, offered to take a picture with the kid. Years later, when Magic was trying to line up investors for one of his new business ventures, he had a meeting with a young, deep-pocketed CEO. It was the boy, all grown up, from two decades earlier. He told Magic he kept the framed photo of the two of them on the wall of his office and then he signed on to invest in Magic’s business.
This story speaks to me on many levels but stands out because we never know the power of a connection!
Written by Jenny Mason
About the Author >>>
Have you wondered about putting the power of connections to work for your business?
As I write this, I’m reminded of another story I heard when I was younger on the power of connections.
There was a long-haired guy dressed plainly in jeans and a shirt who walked onto a car lot. The dealer was a harsh old-school guy who brushed the guy off, letting him know he should move on. Little did he know the guy was a famous band member and could have bought his whole lot.
Recently, my family set up a booth at a craft fair. My son-in-law had a table displaying his custom knives which are as much a piece of art as they are a powerful tool. It didn’t appear the fair was going to produce sales for him as we had hoped but little did we know the nice cowboy selling chocolate sculptures at the booth across the aisle was a famous sculptor. He had an art gallery near where my daughter and son-in-law live. The sculptor was so impressed with the knives that he asked my son-in-law to bring his knives to his gallery where he would display them. When I thanked him and his wife, he said, “Sometimes you never know whom you’ll meet.”
Have you ever wondered about the power of connections? In this industry, other businesses, and in life, we receive calls from all types of people. Perhaps at times, we respond like the car lot owner looking down our noses at someone, or maybe we are like Kareem, unwilling to give someone the time of day. I’ve met people who ended up giving me a job opportunity, becoming a close friend, teaching me invaluable lessons, and opening my eyes in ways I never imagined. I think in every connection we make, there can be something to learn and something to be gained.
According to a recent survey, around 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking connections. Research also shows up to 70 percent of employees received their current company position through networking. Despite the importance of networking, only 48 percent of people report they keep in touch with their network. Seventy percent of small business owners typically network online. Networking is responsible for the success of 78 percent of startups, and online and in-person networking accounts for 16 to 40 percent of all customers gained.
In business, a huge advantage is who you know and not only what you know. Some of the benefits of having connections in business are they can lead to new business, give you more visibility, provide you with new ideas, perspectives, and access to influencers, and give you a better support network. Networking and making connections lead to new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
Some ways to build your network are joining clubs, attending events and retreats, finding hobbies to enjoy, taking classes, volunteering, and becoming more involved in your community and on social media platforms. Take a genuine interest in your new connections, share knowledge, engage in meaningful ways, and build relationships. By looking at the studies where only 48 percent of people stay in touch with their network, it seems like networking is a great strategy to gain an advantage and build better relationships. Two key factors in building relationships are being genuine when you follow up and being consistent.
Jim Rohn talked about association on purpose, being seen and known by the right people by expanding your circle of influence. “Initiate relationships with people who are further ahead in personal and professional development than you are. There are many successful people around you who can help you in so many ways.” Carefully determine what will influence you. “You are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Businessman, author, and syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay shares practical, down-to-earth advice in his books and when he speaks. A common theme in his writing centers around success in business and personal life is embodied in the interpersonal relationships we make. One of my favorite quotes says, “If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all truly successful individuals, it’s the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts.” In his book, Dig Your Well Before You Are Thirsty, Harvey Mackay also teaches the key to relationships is being prepared. Do your homework and be prepared to make someone ask, “How did you know?” Are you digging your well? You never know the power of that next connection. It might just be the one that changes your life personally or professionally.
Networking is a great strategy to gain an advantage and build better relationships.

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